Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,026 / Arachne

Posted by Eileen on June 2nd, 2010


It’s only three weeks since the last Arachne puzzle and, according to Andrew’s review of the year, we had only seven of hers in 2009, so this is a welcome early return. There’s much to admire here – smooth surfaces, clever anagrams and some ingenious cluing. Thanks for an enjoyable solve, Arachne.


GASSIEST: GAS [HE{lium} perhaps – nice misdirection] + SIEST[a] [brief nap]
6   WARDEN: WAR [campaign] + DEN [shelter]: a nice change to see Guardian as the definition, rather than cluing ‘we’ or ‘us’.
9   TWIN TUBS: reversal of BUT [‘only rotated’] in TWINS [pairs]: I remember mine well!
10 MUSSEL: homophone of muscle or ‘might’ – a great surface, with ‘articulated’ doing double duty.
12  PATHOLOGIST: anagram of HOSPITAL GOT: I wasn’t keen on ‘mental’ as an anagram indicator but Chambers gives it as ‘ridiculous’.
15  NAURU: hidden in part-owN A URUguayan: an island  in the South Pacific, used recently by Australia as a detention centre for asylum seekers.
17  TRICOLOUR: TRI [triumphant leaders] + COLOUR [standard]: for me, the weakest clue.
18  GRILLINGS: GR [alternate letters of ‘girl’ + ILL [sick] + IN G[rammar] S[chool] [during school]: a great – and horribly topical! – surface.
19  DORIC: DO [swindle] + RIC[h] [short wealthy]: I’m not sure of the need for ‘local’ in the clue: we quite often see ‘Attic’ for [old] Greek.
20  VENTRILOQUY: anagram of QV ROUTINELY – another nice surface and wrong-footing use of ‘doctor’.
24  AMOEBA: A MO [a second] + EBA [reversal of ABE] – which is, I think, the first time I have seen this clued as other than ‘president’! I liked the ‘shape-shifter’ definition: amoebae were the first thing we had to draw in secondary school Biology – an absolute cinch, as we had a completely free hand!
25 DISCLAIM: D[etective] I[nspector] S [elements of police] + CLAIM [state]
26  HAMLET: HAM [over-theatrical] + LET [allowed
27  BESTREWN: anagram of WEBSTER + N[ew] – another clever surface.


1   GET-UP-AND-GO: neat anagram of A PET GUNDOG
2 SAINT LUCIA: S[alvation A[rmy] [evangelists] IN [popular] + reversal of AI [top] CULT. [I think I’m getting as weary of in = popular as others are of  OR = men.]
3   INTRO: R[ight] in INTO: the definition is ‘passage which opens’ and ‘houses’ is a verb – clever.
SUBCONTINENT: SUB [mounting BUS] + CONTENT [happy] around IN
6 ADULTHOOD: A DUL[l] mostly slow-witted] + THO’ [but] O[pen-hearte]D. This took a minute or two: I read ‘but extremely’ as [bu]T and [naturally] could make nothing of HOOD!
DISC: half of 25ac [DISCLAIM]
8   NILE: alternate letters of oN hIlL wE
11  CIVIL SERVICE: double definition
13  FOUR-SQUARE: more clever misdirection, as, this time, 25 does not refer to clue 25 but to 25 being a square number, ‘supported’ by 4
14 TRACEY EMIN: anagram of I REENACT MY – ‘career’ as an anagram indicator?
16  UNLOVABLE: anagram of VOLUN[teers] + ABLE [skilled]
21  LICIT: I can’t quite see this, except that it’s in soLICITor.
22  CASH: homophone of cache
23  FORM: FORUM [assembly] minus U [posh]

31 Responses to “Guardian 25,026 / Arachne”

  1. Colin Greenland says:

    Thanks for explaining 1A, Eileen, and 18A – I should never have worked out that GS is supposed to be Grammar School.

    15A was new to me. Might be useful in Scrabble now we’re allowed proper nouns!

    In 6D I’m not that happy with THO for ‘but’ – it needs some sort of modifier to indicate informality, I’d think.

    I too was unimpressed by 17A, but admired 6A and 13D.

  2. TokyoColin says:

    Thanks Eileen. I enjoyed this one too. Some witty surfaces and clever misdirections.

    I was OK with ‘career’ as the anagram indicator, and Chambers gives: ‘to rush in an uncontrolled or headlong way’. I hope Gaufrid is pleased with me for quoting a Chambers definition…

    Also no problem with ‘mental’. Common Aussie slang for wild, out of control etc. as captured in the name of the band ‘Mental as Anything’. I doubt if they are in Chambers, yet.

  3. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen. Enjoyed this, too (the second in two days). Happy to “finish” it in 38′, but then discovered from your blog 1a wasn’t GUSTIEST.

    AMOEBA last to go in – a very tricky one; I must remember that second is sometimes MO and not always S.

    21d I can’t quite see either – I feel I am missing something there. Does SOOR or ROOS have significance?

  4. Ian says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog and also to Arachne for an enjoyable solve this morning.

    3 dn represents an admirable piece of wordplay. 14 dn was splendid too. Career a fine way to highlight the anagram.

    As regards 19 ac, I thought ‘Do – Ric’ was taking a liberty too far!!


  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for a thorough blog, Eileen. Yes, much to enjoy here, with some easy-on-the-eye surfaces and nice misdirections. I liked PATHOLOGIST, and was okay with ‘mental’ as the anagrind, although perhaps it’s Kathryn’s generation that use it in a ‘that’s mental’ = ‘that’s crazy’ way. Similarly okay with ‘career’, although ‘careers’ might have been a tad clearer.

    I suppose ‘legal’ is doing double-duty in 21dn?

    And Dave E, you weren’t the only one with GUSTIEST at 1ac …

    All good stuff, thank you Arachne.

  6. tupu says:

    Many thanks Eileen. I am sorry to have been less happy with this one – with some solutions rather easier than their rationale, especially 6d and 21d. I also tried ‘t’ plus ‘hood’ and thought the double ‘o’ might be double zero in h-d but it doesn’t really make sense.
    I got 1a but failed to see the helium link – my own fault since I’ve fallen for this before and shouldn’t have done again – and took ‘gas’ to mean something or someone amusing or exciting (and as such ‘taking’).
    Mussel at 10a does not seem to be really cryptic. Mussels are bivalves and may, I gather, be articulated. The link to muscle seems irrelevant.
    Re my first comment – I can see that I may underestimate the value of ‘solve first and try to see why later’ clues. But there should be more amusement and/or admiration in the process than I got from 6d and 21d and 17a. This last is also a bit banal as you gloss it (I’m sure correctly). I tried the idea of ‘one- coloured’ as standard which again does not make satisfactory sense.
    For me the best clues were some of the unlikely anagrams – 13a, 20a and 27a.

  7. Uncle Yap says:

    Yesterday, both the Guardian and the Times shared a same word, MATCHLESS. Today, Guardian had
    26A Over-theatrical thespian’s allowed a Shakespearean role (6) while Times had
    21D Prince whose forefathers were rude, did Gray imply? (6)

    25A had ‘elements of police’ for DIS, which I thought was a tad unfair; otherwise quite an entertaining solve.

    Thank you, Eileen for the blog

  8. monica says:

    isn’t 21d just a play on words ‘solicitor being over’, meaning more than, or covering?

  9. Stella Heath says:

    Exactly, Monica, at least that’s the way I read it. one of the easiest clues.

  10. rrc says:

    The only problem in the solve today was the lack of a smile or aha moments

  11. Bill Taylor says:

    I’m with tupu and rrc. This was a joyless solve; not nearly as good as last month’s Arachne. I’m rather tired of seeing (as in 24a) “little boy” or “small boy” as an indicator for a shortened name.

  12. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the great blog, Eileen.

    I thought 10A was a homophone of ‘might’ = muscle, with maybe no double duty, bivalve standing on its own as definition. Did not see why it could be LICIT for a long time, but as someone mentioned, I think it’s a ‘hidden’ indicated by ‘over’. 11D I saw as a little wider than double definition with separate new definitions for each of the two elements in the wordplay part, tho I agree it’s maybe close to double definition in a sense.

    Favourite clue INTRO closely followed by GRILLINGS.

  13. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I was another one with GUSTIEST at 1ac — didn’t see the wordplay and now I know why! My favourite was the anagram at 20ac and I liked the surface of 1dn.

  14. crosser says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I agree with monica and Stella Heath (@8&9) about 21d.
    I liked the anagram at 1d.

  15. tupu says:

    Eileen thanks once again for your analysis.
    A couple of minuscule ( :) learned at last!) points:
    13d. 25 supports four and not vice versa.
    19a. I am sure that ‘local’ is unnecessary since all Dorians were Greeks, but it seems legitimate since there were, it seems, particular Dorian localities.

  16. Colin says:

    *raises hand*

    Another one with “GUSTIEST” here :o.

    Managed to finish it on the way home from work, although there were 2 or 3 that I couldn’t really parse the construction.

  17. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the comments. I had meant to say that I would be out for most of the day and would deal with ‘Corrections and Clarifications’ later.

    It seems, then, that there’s no more to LICIT than that it’s hidden in ‘solicitor’, which is all I could come up with. That’s not the usual way of indicating that: as Dave E. says, ‘over’ usually means the letters around the solution and / or reversed.

    Thanks for the correction, tupu @15 re 13dn: that was sheer carelessness. And I’m glad that you agree with me about the Dorians.

    But – I’m sure there’s more to 10ac than you @6 or Nimsindy @12 are giving credit for. SOED gives ‘articulate: to divide into distinct and significant parts’ [as a bivalve – my interpolation]; ‘to pronounce': [muscle is a homophone of might]. I thought this was a really great clue, to communicate all that in four words!

  18. Eileen says:

    Of course muscle isn’t a homophone of might! :-)

  19. Davy says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    This was a breeze after yesterday’s Brummie which I only managed three quarters of, although I missed some fairly obvious answers. An enjoyable puzzle from Arachne with a lot of good surfaces and nice misdirection especially ADULTHOOD.

    I thought that MENTAL and CAREER were refreshingly different anagrinds especially the use of mental before hospital. Thanks Arachne.

  20. mike04 says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen.

    In 19ac, I read ‘Greek’ as the language of Greece. Doric would then be ‘old local Greek’ in the sense of a dialect of ancient Greek.

  21. Eileen says:

    Hi mike04

    Yes, spot on. It was just just a throwaway remark, really. I could still maintain, on the analogy of ‘Attic’, that ‘local’ wasn’t strictly necessary – but it doesn’t really matter! :-)

    [Ian #4 – I don’t really understand your objection to the clue.]

  22. tupu says:

    Eileen thanks. I accept your point about articulated = rendered in speech. I suppose the weakness for me is that disc and Nile are very easy and once you have them it must be mussel anyway and that can be an articulated bivalve. But yes, OK.

    Mike04. That makes a lot of sense. As my own comment suggests, there were local Doric (Dorian) populations (who were one assumes Doric speakers).

  23. mike04 says:

    Yes, tupu, that was the case. Collins gives Aeolic, Arcadic, Doric and Ionic (including Attic) as the chief dialects of Ancient Greek.
    And we have some Doric speakers here in Scotland!

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, Eileen [TYVM] & Others, TRICOLOUR was weak.
    Yes, we thought the obvious FOUR-SQUARE was not that good (because of “4” being there).
    Yes, and 11d (CIVIL SERVICE) wasn’t either.
    And yes, this was a relatively easy solve [surely compared to Arachne-two-puzzles-ago].

    But, but, but.
    There was more than enough compensation for that.
    Great anagrams (12ac, 20ac), brilliant surfaces (18ac, 27ac [although, to be honest, I think I saw the Webster/bestrewn connection before], 8d) and a fantastically concealed homophone in 10ac (MUSSEL).

    Some people said that there weren’t enough smiles.
    Well, how important’s that? Want one more ‘bottom’?

    How many of you go through the clues again, let’s say, one or two hours after solving it?
    Well, I do [the alien in me J].
    To find out, this is mostly very clever, well-written stuff [‘He perhaps’ in 1ac meaning ‘Gas’ – that’s just it! (btw, we didn’t find anything else than ‘gustiest’ L].

    Some crosswords just do feel right, while others do not.
    Arachne’s did.

  25. nmsindy says:

    Know very little about bivalves but dicts suggest a mussel is one. I then read it (the answer) as a homophone of ‘muscle’ which means ‘might’, with the ‘articulated’, ie in speaking, indicating that.

  26. Sil van den Hoek says:

    In #24: J :) and L= :(.

  27. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Eileen.
    I agree with your reading of 10 across even though,like tupu(at first), I thought it was just a non cryptic definition.
    Like most others I thought there was a lot of good stuff here with some very clever misdirections and some lovely surfaces – 27 across in particular.Favourite clue was 1 across.
    Again,as others have said a number of these were ‘solve first – parse later’,but I enjoy that,even though I failed with ‘mussel’!

  28. Gerry says:

    I nearly tripped on ‘gustiest’ rather than ‘gassiest’ too. Glad to finish, but not really an enjoyable one.

  29. Annac says:

    14. Tracey Emin famously charts her own life – and career – through her art.

  30. Eileen says:

    Hi Annac

    Of course she does! – many thanks for that. So it’s a great & lit and I missed it, :-(

  31. beermagnet says:

    18A GRILLINGS: I took the final GS derived from “school examinations” to be G[eneral] S[tudies]
    Everyone seemed to have to do this at A Level in my day

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